513 Paint Blog

Upcycling for Beginners: Painting Furniture

Upcycling is bringing new life into old items! - Taking old or unloved materials or furniture and transforming them into a fabulous masterpiece at your home. Without a doubt, it is a fun, cost-effective and planet-friendly way of giving furniture a refresh. If you are new to upcycling, wondering what preparation you’ll need to do, what type of paint you need to buy, here are some tips for you to get started!


Do Your Prep (Sanding & Priming)

Always remove the old paint before you get doing with the new painting. You may wipe down the furniture using a sandpaper. A thorough sanding also means to give it a scratched surface to the new paint to adhere and last for longer. For rougher wood, you can start by using coarse sandpaper, followed by light sandpaper, working in the direction of a circle.

Photo from Norton Abrasives

Once you have done the sanding, you’re ready to apply the primer. Do not skip this step especially over a dark stain because applying primer over new surfaces seals the original colour so your paint goes on smoothly and doesn’t discolour. Apply an even coat of primer and leave it to dry. Once dry, you may need to give it another gentle sanding to remove any bumps or brush stroke.

Photo from Erin Spain

Now, your furniture is ready to put on a new coat of paint!


Apply Paint

The finish you want and the surface you’re painting determines what type of paint you should choose. Here are the most popular types of paint for furniture, and what effects they give.

Paint type



Matte, textured, rustic


High shine, glossy


Sheen, semi-shiny


Sheen, semi-matte

For example, chalk paints are great for painting over a dark stain or veneer, as they give smooth, all-over coverage. 

Photo from Archbishop James Provence

Whichever paint you choose, always apply at least two to three thin layers of paint to achieve the smooth and even colour on the surface.


Special Effects

If you think it is too boring to have plain colour on your furniture, here are two easy tricks you can do to add a personal touch.

The Distressed Finish

If you want to get that aged, distressed look to your furniture, you may try to use a slightly darker colour as your undercoat, and your main colour as a second layer. Then, take a piece of sandpaper and slightly rub the top coat away to reveal the colour underneath. You are suggested to sand over, such as the edges and corners where wear usually occurs, to create a natural effect.

Photo from Better Homes and Gardens


Stencilling is a super easy way to add a decorative pattern to the painted surface. You can buy patterned stencil paper or cut your own design from a piece of stencil paper using a craft knife. Remember to stipple the paint through the stencil using a bristled brush or a sponge to prevent the paint from getting under the edges of the stencil.

Photo from Ideal Stencils Blog


Apply Finishing coat

Once you have finished painting your pieces, make sure you protect all your hard work with a finishing coat to prevent new paint from getting damaged. Depending on the kind of finish you want, there are plenty of products for finishing such as matte or glossy varnish and clear or dark wax.


So, that’s it! Just take a little bit time and patience and you will end up with a stunning, unique piece of furniture. Be as creative as you dare and style your home to the next level!

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